Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos celebrated two recent military operations as historic blows against the country’s largest guerrilla group, in a government press release Thursday.
Last week Colombian security forces said they killed 39 FARC rebels and captured 12 during clashes in Colombia’s northern department of Arauca. This was followed by the killing of 36 alleged FARC during a raid in the central department of Meta, Monday.
The intensification of military operations followed the deaths of 11 Colombian soldiers in a FARC ambush earlier this month.
Santos said, “These are strong blows not only of the number of criminals killed, but also because of the importance of those killed to the FARC organization.”
In an email to Colombia Reports, the Ministry of Defense said during Monday’s operation – codenamed Armageddon – the following six FARC leaders had been killed:
- alias “Arsecio Niño,” Commander of the 27th Front
- alias “Javier Jota,” Commander of the 42nd Front
- alias “Willinton,” Commander of Mobile Company Ismael Ayala
- alias “Camilo,” Commander of the 25th Front
- alias “Alonso Rivas,” Commander of the Abelardo Romero Front
- alias “Alison,” Commander of Mobile Company Yermison Ruiz
The email also listed a group of second and third in command FARC members amongst the dead.
Santos said the alleged FARC leaders who were killed in the strikes were being trained for further guerrilla actions around Colombia.
Speaking of the government’s conflict with the FARC Santos said, “This process calls upon the State to no let down its guard, to perservere.”
On the same day as Santos’ speech, the US military announced it would be sending veteran US commanders of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to train Colombian security forces in their operations against the FARC.